Friday, August 4, 2017

Random Thoughts: Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua, Teri Raza, Yeh Raha Dil and Phir Wohi Mohabbat

Hey guys!  Alright, so in keeping up my promise of writing, I decided that this week, I would just briefly write down some thoughts on dramas that have sparked some kind of reaction/thought process from me.  So here goes:

Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua



Despite being only 3 episodes in, Tou Dil Ka Kia Hua is already striking a chord with the audience.  What started off as an intense first episode, introducing us to Maya and Faris, a couple headed down the path of divorce has quickly progressed into something much more.  A story of deceit, betrayal, lies, scheming, family loyalty and unrequited love.....this one has it all, everything rolled into one.

The emotions are so real, so intense that if you've ever experienced heartbreak, certain scenes will actually bring you to tears.  I'm really enjoying this show, if only because almost every character has shades of grey with multiple layers.  There is no "good" or "bad."

Phir Wohi Mohabbat



What started off as a compelling story with intelligent characters has slowly turned into a saas-bahu drama, complete with empty-headed characters that believe anything and everything without an iota of sense attached.  The character of Sana is the absolute worst, the very definition of a dim vamp without even a bit of self-respect, going from independent to being the worst kind of woman - one that steals the man of another knowing that he doesn't love her at all.  What IS that?  It's ridiculous!  The lead of Alishba isn't any better - she hides what's going on, which only leads to the mistrust and accusations that fall upon her.  The parents who knew Rafiq had taken their daughter and felt in their hearts that they had met their daughter......suddenly, the father cuts off immediately, believing the story of a random man?  What ever happened to DNA tests?  What IS this STORY?!  It's awful.  This show has gone from being my #1 to barely even being watchable.

Yeh Raha Dil



I'm actually really bothered by this show, if only because the games Zaki and Hayaa are playing with Hassan and Nida are downright cruel.  If they like each other, they should have said it long ago.  Instead, they are playing with the real emotions of good people (namely Hassan).  With each episode, I'm becoming more and more offended to be honest.  With the blackmailing twist with Nida, I'm hoping something changes soon.

Teri Raza



What is Suhana up to?  I don't even understand this character right now.  It's "Allah's raza" to marry Imtiaz, so she's doing it.  However, she's still hung up on Rameez, despite acknowledging that he literally lied to her and deceived her.  So what exactly is she up to in the last scene of the latest episode?  I'm a little appalled, because her behavior towards Imtiaz, a seriously IDEAL guy, is really aggravating. Yes, he's much older than she is, but he has been kind and considerate througout.  Did Daadi lie about the istikhaara?  Also, what was UP with Suhana's mother's EXTREME reaction and yelling when Rameez came over?  Parents like this are so frustrating.  All in all, I'm still trying to figure out where this show is headed and what path it will tread.

Alright, until next time - happy watching!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Baaghi: Episode 1 Thoughts


Baaghi is a huge project, a drama that was so highly anticipated that there was controversy surrounding it the moment it was announced.  Why a drama based on Qandeel?  Why not one on Amjad Sabri or Edhi?  Why are we promoting such a terrible human being?  Why are we allowing our daughters and mothers (excuse me...?) to watch such shows, inspiring them into "beghairti"?  HOW TIRED am I of those comments!  Why Malala for the nobel peace price?  Why not Edhi?  Why Qandeel for a drama?  Why not Edhi?  Why Leonardo DiCaprio for the Oscar?  WHY NOT EDHI?  Jeez.....people.....stop.  Why would one make a drama on Edhi?  There would be no.....drama.

My stance on Qandeel has been stated time and time again - while I didn't agree with her actions, I truly believe that she had every right to live her life the way she wanted to.  If she had a bad marriage, a bad time growing up and a bad past that caused her to rebel, that was her path and her life to live.  She had a right to live how she saw fit.  And THAT is the point of representing Qandeel Baloch correctly - she does stand for something.  She stands for the fact that women in Pakistan do not have control or a right over their own lives.  They become someone else's "honor," a symbol of "hayaa" and decency and are taught to behave in a way that will not bring shame to their families.  A girl has to be pious and of a "clean image" in order to be considered good. Why?  Why are men allowed to do whatever they want and women are made to be judged?  That's the problem with our society and that's what Qandeel Baloch stands for.  Call it feminism or just call it simple, plain old human rights, that's your choice.


Coming back to the drama, some of the most talented names of the industry are associated with this drama.  From Saba Qamar playing the lead role to Ali Kazmi, Sarmad Khoosat, Osmaan Khalid Butt, Khalid Malik all playing vital characters and being written by Umera Ahmed, this is a powerhouse ensemble that carries huge expectations with it.

Episode 1 started off with a bang. We got to see Fozia (Saba Qamar) living her life in a village with her family.  A free spirit, she lives her life with spunk and does not shy away from confronting those who trouble her or her loved ones.  With big dreams of living life on her terms, we already see how her small village upbringing will curb those dreams and her attitude.


The first episode was refreshing and entertaining to watch.  The casting of Sarmad Khoosat as Fozia's brother is brilliant casting, as is Ali Kazmi's casting as Fozia's future husband.  Saba Qamar is a natural in her role as Fozia - initially, I doubted how well she'd be able to pull off this role, but she really seems to have gotten into the skin of her character and I'm excited to see how she will progress.

Baaghi is off to a great start and I'm really excited to see how the story plays out - and how true to Qandeel's life it will actually be (though I'm aware that it's a tribute to Qandeel AND other girls like her, so I'm not expecting it to be exact).  Let's see!  Happy watching!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Alif Allah Aur Insaan: Overview Episodes 1 - 12


When Alif Allah Aur Insaan first began to air promos, I was fairly excited about it - lavish sets, a great star cast, a nice OST, it had everything going for it.  I watched episode 1.  It looked interesting enough, though highly over the top in the case of the "hijras."  I watched episode 2 - again, still interesting, but very over the top.  Likewise with episode 3.  I was interested, but not hooked.  I was enjoying the show, but it hadn't reeled me in just yet.

Then something happened that distracted me and I stopped watching the show.  Cut to a few days ago. I picked it up again and started it all over again from episode 1.  This time?  I loved it.  The appreciation I didn't have for it initially has been replaced by nothing but appreciation.  This show has been catapulted to number one on my list of dramas.  It is, by far, the best show on television right now.  The star cast, the production values, the acting, the storyline - it's all nothing short of (Bollywood) movie quality.   The pace with which the story moves is gripping, exciting and eventful.  I have watched all twelve episodes so far and I have yet to be bored for even one episode.  There aren't any "filler episodes" (as of yet).  Each episode carries the story forward in a way that keeps the viewer wanting more.

The story focuses on six characters, which are all connected in a chain.


First, we follow Shamu (Imran Ashraf), a transgender who falls in "love" (sort of) with Rani, a beggar, one day when she saves him from a group of men insulting and bullying him.  Rani teaches him to defend himself, consider himself an "insaan" (human) and earn respect from others instead of dancing and singing (something she considers haraam practice and beneath her).  Shamu takes her words to heart and follows her teachings to create a life for himself, despite being shunned by Rani herself.  He finds success, but is success worth it when you are unable to help the one you love?


We follow Rani's story.  Rani, played by Ushna Shah, is a beggar girl who dreams of something bigger, something better for her life.  She sees Nigar Begum (Sana Fakhar) in the streets often and is told of how wealthy she is (as well as beautiful and talented).  She runs away from home to ask Nigar Begam for a job, which Nigar gives her.  But Nigar's life and the lives of those touched by her and her profession is not what it seems.  For behind the glitz, glamour, beauty and wealth is a life that treats women as animals rather than "insaan" (humans).


We follow Nigar Begum, played by Sana Nawaz, a "tawaif" who has fallen in love with Shahzeb (Mekaal Zulfiqar).  Shahzeb came to her "kotha" with his friends against his will and while performing, Nigar falls in love with Shahzeb's decency and dignity.  When she expresses her love for Shahzeb, he rejects her outright, saying he respects women and does not agree with what she is doing.  Heartbroken, Nigar Begum becomes bitter and angry with life, taking it out on those who work with and for her.  When Nigar meets Nawazish Ali (Farhan Ali Agha), she feels her dreams of becoming a "movie heroine" are finally coming true.  She begins to see the light at the end of the tunnel....but will Rani's presence shatter those dreams?


We follow Shahzeb, played by Mekaal Zulfiqaar, a landlord who falls in love with Nazleen (Kubra Khan) after meeting her at a wedding.  Instantly enamored, he sends a marriage proposal, which her family readily accepts.  Almost immediately after being engaged, Shahzeb senses that Nazleen does not care about him.  He is hurt and finds himself often upset at how Nazleen treats him with complete disregard.  He confides in the local Maulvi Baba (Qavi Khan), someone he deeply respects, about his feelings.  Maulvi Baba tells him to leave things in the hands of God, because God tests "insaan" with what they most desire.


We follow Nazleen, played by Kubra Khan, the daughter of a wealthy landlord who is spoiled, stubborn and lacking in compassion.  One day at a wedding, Nazleen insults a group of trandgenders dancing, including Shamu.  Shamu, hurt, declares that Nazleen will never have a home of her own.  Nazleen wants to pursue her studies, but is instead persuaded by her parents to get engaged to Shahzeb - a great guy and catch - and then leave for the city to complete her education.  She resents Shahzeb and does not care for his feelings, love or affection, making no bones to hide it.  In the city at school, she develops a crush on and realizes that she cares for Basit (Shahzad Sheikh), the son of one of her fathers' workers.  Nazleen's father entrusts Basit to look out for Nazleen, but will Basit succumb to Nazleen's affections and break the trust of her father and, in turn, many societal norms and traditions?


And lastly, we follow the story of Basit, played by Shahzad Sheikh, someone who has always understood his place in his fathers' world - the place of the "servant class," something he has no desire to break.  He cares for his family and does not wish to straddle any line that could bring trouble for them.  When Nazleen, the daughter of his father's boss, comes to the city to study, he is entrusted to take care of her.  But when Nazleen begins to make advances towards him, he finds himself stuck between love and family loyalty.  Which will he choose?


The acting from this ensemble cast, whether it's the main 6 actors or even the supporting cast, is incredible.  Everyone is playing their role so well, but I have to give special mention to Imran Ashraf, who is going from strength to strength in his acting career and it's so refreshing to see him in a role where he's truly shining.

The intensity with which this drama is written is commendable.  The story has yet to lose steam, which many dramas do by episode 10 onwards, rather it has so much scope for growth and the story is only getting stronger.


It's so fascinating to see such a simple concept played out so eloquently on screen.  We are all human beings.  Whether you are from a poor social strata or a rich lifestyle, we all have our happiness, pain, family and all desire to be treated well and with respect.  Regardless of where a person comes from, that struggle can always exist, whether it's outward or inward.

This drama is beautiful, entertaining, exciting and compelling.  I highly recommend everyone to jump on this bandwagon - it's a great one to be on.  Whether that holds true after 2-4 episodes, who knows?  Dramas always have the tendency to screw things up.  But for now, this show is quality.

Happy watching!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dramas I'm Currently Watching - June 2017 Edition

I figured there could be no better foray into blogging about dramas than simply going over the shows I'm currently invested in.  This is currently my "standing-strong" list of shows that I'm still excited to watch each week, give or take a weak episode here or there.

Phir Wohi Mohabbat



Phir Wohi Mohabbat has consistently been my go-to favorite show over the last two months.  I binge-watched the first 9 episodes initially and have since been keeping up with the show with great interest each week.  The story follows two sisters married to two brothers, their family relationships and their children - Waleed and Alishba.  Alishba was kidnapped as a child and her re-entrance into the famiy fold and entry into Waleed's life forms the crux of the show.  The story is complex enough that the dramatics have not felt forced, the relationships are endearing, the love story between Waleed & Alishba very realistic and natural.

However, with the last two episodes (episode 15 & 16), the story has taken an irritatingly unnatural twist with Ramsha's irritating "zidd" to throw Sana back into Waleed's life.  I can understand sibling rivalry, but Ramsha's character has slowly gone from a woman with complexes to a typical Indian serial vamp.  Ditto with the character of Sana, who has suddenly gone from an independent, career-oriented woman with no real emotional connections to being a pathetic, pitiful shell of a character who is now intent on marrying a man who never cared about her and already has a wife!  Now, I'm just waiting for Sheharyar to re-enter as Sana's partner in crime and Ramsha's accomplice.  That's the only ridiculous twist left, honestly.

That being said, this drama is still my favorite for two simple reasons:
1)  I love the chemistry between Hania Amir and Ahmed Ali.  They look beautiful together as Waleed and Alishba and share such a comfort level on-screen that you almost believe they are a real-life couple.
2)  The story has some really great characters, namely Alishba and Samra (Zainab Qayyum).  The character of Samra is a smart, intelligent woman who knows how to handle her family relationships.  Where this character could've been playing into Ramsha's hands, she is not and is instead teaching her daughter how to keep her husband's love.  It's refreshing.  I also appreciate that both brother characters of Ashar and Yasir are strong men who have upheld their relationship despite the issues between their wives.

This show is still #1 on my list of favorite dramas and while I haven't liked the last two episodes, I'm hoping the show pulls out of its Ekta Kapoor style soon and comes back into its own.


Tou Dil Ka Kya Hua



Episode one has aired and I'm left thinking "What on earth?"  Seeing Ayeza Khan and Zahid Ahmed in such blatantly beyond-grey-almost-into-black characters is not only a refreshing change, but also makes this drama all the more intriguing.

Honestly speaking, I can already see the morality police screaming after episode one about the lack of morals and values in Pakistani shows these days.  But honestly, I enjoy seeing things like this in dramas.  It depicts a reality in society -  not every guy or girl gets married and automatically lives happily ever after.  Not every person is capable of adjusting after marriage, not built to make the sacrifices and compromises that are expected of them.

The first episode is really intense and, honestly, pretty bold.  I'm already hooked.  I'm just wondering where the show will be headed from here.  The ensemble cast is really great.  With names like Sami Khan, Ayeza Khan, Zahid Ahmed, Mansha Pasha, Noor Khan, Imran Ashraf, Usman Peerzada, Behroz Sabzwari, etc and produced by Samina Hamayun Saeed, this is a show to look out for and I'm expecting great things from it.

Yakeen Ka Safar



Intense.  Grim.  Painfully real.  Depicts the true reality of our society.  These are the first things that come to mind when describing this drama.  "Gumaan ke baad yakeen ka safar" - so far, there is so much gumaan and I'm still clinging on with my fingernails for some yakeen to begin.

Sajal Ali's story as Zubia is interesting, but I'm waiting for it to really take off.  While I'm glad her once-evil father has had a change of heart, it goes to show that your children end up being a mirror of their parents.  To see her once-loving brother Rehan turn against her thanks to their upbringing (and her evil Bhabi) is disheartening and absolutely realistic.  I'm looking forward to watching her interactions with Asfandyar (Ahad Raza Mir).

On the other end, we've been seeing Daniyal (Shaz Khan) fighting to defend the honor of his client - however, he's taking on the son of a politician and that's put him in a dangerous position.  In the latest episode, we witnessed a huge twist with Daniyal being shot.  Will he make it?  Did he die?  That's what I'm waiting for anxiously.  Shaz Khan's chemistry with Hira Salman is seriously adorable, so I am hoping this isn't the end for the duo.  Things are looking grim though....

All in all, this is an intense drama and not for anyone looking for something light-hearted.  The story is solid though and I'm expecting for it to only get better from here (hopefully).

Teri Raza




One episode in and I'm a little on the fence about this one.  Sanam Baloch is LOVE and I'm so excited to see her on screen again. She's been missing from the scene for so long and she is always associated with quality projects.  On the other end, Shehroz Sabzwari has yet to prove himself as an actor and his pairing with Sanam isn't incredibly appealing.  In the first episode alone, we've heard "istikhaara" and "Wazeefa" mentioned over 1,000 times, so the theme of the show is very clear.  This show will either be very nicely handled or very over-the-top and I fear the latter.

Regardless, I am enjoying Sanam's performance a lot.  She's always a treat to watch with very natural, realistic acting.  I'll be watching this one closely.

Alif Allah Aur Insaan



I am VERY behind on this particular show and I thought, instead of waiting to catch up before publishing this post, I would simply give my thoughts on the show overall (up until what I've seen).  While this show is certainly not the first on this particular topic - Veena with Fahad Mustafa brought it to light years ago and most recently, Khuda Mera Bhi Hai did an amazing job of displaying the real emotions and attitudes attached to the "third gender" to light -, it is nice to see such a stellar ensemble cast working to tackle the issue.  The first episode was almost immediately gripping, pulling the viewer in.  Yes, overall, the show can tend to be melodramatic with exaggerated dialogues and larger-than-life emotions (compared to the subtle performance by Furqan Qureshi in KMBH), but I'm appreciating the narrative regardless.  I am too behind to comment on anything further, so this may get a separate post once I am caught up.

Beinteha



Overall, I really liked this show.  It was light, it was romantic, it had a lot of family drama.  Then this latest cancer angle happened and now I'm completely on the fence about it.  It has taken a very dark turn and not necessarily for the better.  While I didn't agree with the spontaneous, selfish behavior of the lead characters, I at least felt like the situation was endearing in a way, filled with emotional drama and conflict between love and family.  But now, it has simply taken a grim turn, one that feels like yet another case of "OK, we wrote this much of the story, but didn't think beyond that.  Now what?  How do we bring everyone together again?  OH!  ILLNESS!"  I'm not enjoying that.  HOWEVER, the reason I'm still interested in the show is actually - surprise! - the chemistry between Ghana Ali and Faris Shafi (Zara and Ali).  The twist in their relationship actually came as a pleasant surprise and I'm really interested in seeing how that plays out.  Otherwise, I wouldn't rate this show too highly.

Mohabbat Tumse Nafrat Hai



This show is slow.  It has taken 14 episodes for the show to finally begin having a story.  At heart, Mohabbat Tumse Nafrat Hai is a love triangle between Maheen (Aiza Khan), Waqar (Imran Abbas) and Gulraiz (Shahzad Shaikh).  But with all three playing the roles of cousins, this love story has family involvement at every turn.  The show is slow.  The dialogues are slow.  Each sentence is laced with melodrama and heavy, shayaraana dialogue.

That being said, this show has heart.  That's what it really has going for it.  The family relationships are presented so realistically.  Despite the conflict with both Waqar and Gulraiz being in love with Maheen, the drama is kept to a minimum.  The "adult characters" all love their children, so the way their reactions have been depicted is just beautiful.  Special credit has to be given to Sabreen Hisbani and Khalid Malik as Gulraiz's parents (this casting is ridiculous though, these actors are young!).  The relationship they have with their son is such a treat to watch, as is their behavior towards the situation.

It's not perfect, but I'm enjoying the overall feel.  Plus, it has an excellent ensemble cast.

Yeh Raha Dil



I am so on the fence about this show.  I love the actors.  I love the treatment of the show overall.  I love the feel, the way it has been directed.  I love Ahmed Ali and Yumna Zaidi together.  HOWEVER, I lost interest in this show once the two lead females became sisters.  Unbelievable, unrealistic and annoying.  I found that twist unpalatable and very "Rang" (Bollywood movie) to make two sisters fight over one man.

That being said, Ahmed Ali is really coming into his own as an actor and I always love him & Yumna together in any show, so I somehow can't let go of this one - though I had abandoned it some weeks back, I'm back to watching it.  I'm pretty sure this one is close to ending, so I'm just enjoying the last few episodes.


I am EAGERLY anticipating Baaghi with Saba Qamar.  I have previously written about my reaction on Qandeel Baloch and her life and I hope this drama carries a narrative that Pakistan desperately needs to see, understand and comprehend - that women have a RIGHT to live their lives whichever way they see fit, regardless of whether society accepts them or not.  No one has the right to take a life based on "honor."  I consider myself to be a conservative girl - I did not appreciate Qandeel's actions while she was alive.  However, while she WAS alive, I openly stated that considering her life circumstances, I think she has every right to now live her life the way she likes.  And that's what I believe.  That's what I hope this drama carries with it as a message.  I don't want to see "bad girl Qandeel, women this is how you should not be" as the message - though I doubt it will be, considering the names attached to it (Umera, Saba, Osmaan, Ali Kazmi).

I was very interested in watching Muqaabil, but I haven't had the chance to pick it up yet - plus, there's a lot of catch up involved there.  If it's worth it, please do let me know!  I also have thrown aside Rasm-E-Dunya, because despite loving the cast, I could not stomach the melodrama involved.  It was too sad, too miserable and too....pointless.  Dil E Jaanam is also the FIRST Zahid Ahmed drama I have not watched, nor do I have any interest in watching it thanks to the talentless lead actress.

Alright, that's all for now, guys!  This was a huge post for me, especially with playing catch-up.  I will try to be more consistent from here onward.  Until next time, happy watching!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Return of the Pakistani Drama Fan

Hey everyone!  Alright, I know you've noticed my absence (because I've received several messages of complaint) and I am going to start by saying this:  I'm not sorry.  Let me finish.

I've been experiencing some personal issues and they've basically overwhelmed my life over the last 6 months.  Writing?  Keeping up with dramas?  It was not an option, because my brain and heart just weren't in it.  However, I'm not even going to claim that's the entirety of the reason I stopped writing.  I think people who have read my blogs continuously noticed my flip-flopping nature, my bouts of not writing, my moments of disdain towards shows.....and at times, I'm sure you thought "Why does she even watch these shows when she has nothing good to say?"  Well, that's just the issue.

Basically, the content in Pakistani dramas, that I once so loved, had begun to dwindle.  I found myself watching 10, 15, even 18 dramas at a time.  Why would I do that?  Because it seems I was on the never-ending search of finding "that great drama" - one that was on par with the dramas being produced in 2009-2013.  "The great stuff," the stuff that was bringing in Turkish, Indian and other international audiences.  I was constantly just trying to find something GOOD.  And once in a while, it happened - stuff like Mere Humdum Mere Dost, Sadqay Tumhare, Shanakht, Alvida, Bunty I love you, Pehchaan, etc. actually are shows that I'd recommend in a heartbeat.  But....they were 1 or 2 in a group of 10, 15 or 18.

The Indian show ban in Pakistan made it so much worse.  Urdu 1 used to produce ONE GREAT Pakistani drama at a time.  In the midst of all those Turkish and Indian shows, you knew that ONE Pakistani show was a quality one.  But with the disappearance of Indian and Turkish shows, more and more Pakistani shows were being churned out.  "We need more stories, we need more stories!" obviously would backfire, because they were quantity over quality.  Watching these shows became a chore.  I would excuse it by saying "Technically, I'm only watching 1.5 hours a day, because they don't come on every day."  But when you have an active social life, guess what?  You fall behind.  I fell behind.  It was a task.  I had ZERO interest in watching the majority of those shows, but told myself "You started this blog.  You have to keep up with it."  I love Bollywood.  I didn't have time to watch movies.  I love Hollywood.  I didn't have time.  I love American television - NO TIME.  Guess what?  The joy was gone.

I came to that realization back in November (2016).  Then life circumstances simply forced me to retire it for a while, which in hindsight was a relief (not the troubled times, but the forced cut off).  I wasn't in a happy place and I found that the MISERABLE storylines were simply making my emotions so much heavier and....just affecting me negatively.  I've spent the last 6 months on a drama-detox of sorts.  I kept up with Yeh Raha Dil for a while, but the moment it took on a stupid turn (the girls being sisters), I stopped watching.  I kept up with Sammi, but somehow fell off that wagon as well.  Basically, I needed a break from "dumb television."

Now, 6 months later, I've picked up watching dramas again.  The condition?  If I feel the story is becoming too "evil saas"-based, too whiny, too miserable, too cliched, too unoriginal - I stop watching it.  I'm invested in quality shows.  I'm invested in good content.  I am invested in watching the great stuff again.  I'm invested in being proud of Pakistani content.  I have also told myself that I am NO LONGER ALLOWED to ever surpass the magic number 10.  EVER.  Even that number is too high.

So here I am, starting up my blog again.  I'm currently watching 6 shows, shows I feel are quality shows (at least at present).  And in watching those shows, a desire to write again has re-emerged.  So let's get started!

There are a FEW shows that I have watched with interest in this time, binge watched in quiet moments and then caught up later on a binge again.  And I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge them, because they were shows I REALLY enjoyed.

Kuch Na Kaho



This show ran for 47 episodes.  FORTY SEVEN EPISODES.  In my mind, as the number increased, I thought "What's up with this?  Is it ever going to end?  Is this a soap?"  That being said, there was not a single dull moment.  The story was interesting, the acting was good and the episodes were fast-paced.  I looked forward to watching this show and would wait for new episodes with anticipation.  Was it without flaws?  No.  But was it possibly my favorite show this year?  Definitely.  Naveen & Emmad looked incredible together and their chemistry as at-odds spouses was riveting.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Khuda Mera Bhi Hai


When people credit Alif Allah Aur Insaan with "breakthrough ideas," I have to yell from the rooftops "NO!"  Because Khuda Mera Bhi Hai deserves that credit.  Ayesha, Jibran, Aly Khan, Saba Hameed, Furqan Qureshi, Irsa Ghazal, Mehmood Aslam......this entire cast deserves applause for their performances in this drama.  The situations depicted were heart-wrenching, the emotions heart-breaking and it made you feel passionate towards the issue of the treatment of "hijras" in Pakistan (and India).  How the birth of a third-gender child affects and essentially breaks apart a marriage and affects several relationships is the crux of the story and it was played out beautifully.  I am all praises for this show.

Nazar E Bad



This is one of those shows that I'm on the fence about.  It gave me anxiety.  It got me riled up.  Some of the situations would make me angry.  But I appreciated the subject.  Black magic exists in our society and it was nice to see a story depicted where someone falls into black magic out of misery.  Azfar Rehman, who has been struggling with mediocre roles for a while, finally showed his capabilities as an actor.  That being said, there was a lot of OTT business going on in this show.  Why did he HAVE to grow his hair, wear surma and change his outward appearance?  Wouldn't it have been more riveting to see him remain normal looking?  That's what happens in reality - you don't know who is doing what behind closed doors.  I would've enjoyed that more.  But these are small criticisms.  I enjoyed the show overall, despite complaints here and there.


I stopped watching Kaisi Yeh Paheli with Azfar Rehman and Sohai Ali Abro immediately after the first episode, after realizing it was yet another rehash of While You Were Sleeping.  Despite having a great cast, I already know the story.  I already know where it's headed.  No thank you.

I MAY pick up Sammi again soon, but let's see.

Until next time (which won't be in 6 months, rather next week!)!  Happy watching!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Junaid Jamshed, Khuda Aur Mohabbat 2 and Some Other End of Year Thoughts

2016 has been a heavy year.

The year started with the death of my grandmother on January 4, 2016.  I sunk into a funk.  That loss was hard to deal with, as we were close.

The year seemed to continue the way it started - with a lot of grief.  We saw the death of Qandeel Baloch, Amjad Sabri, Abdul Sattar Edhi.  Two were shining lights for Pakistanis.  Their deaths were painful, shocking and cut through the heart.  One was a woman who represented a "It doesn't matter if I'm a woman, I will do what I want without any fear of your judgement and disregard" mentality.....and while most did not agree with her actions (myself included), that sort of person had a right to live and a right to exist.  While she was not a shining star for Pakistan, her death was felt deeply as the representation of "haisiyat" of women in Pakistan.

The year continued.  Donald Trump won as president of the United States.  Donald Trump.....The Donald.  A man who perpetuated hate speech, ignorance, pettiness and ego.  Why?  Because a woman cannot win.  She cannot, despite the fact that she was the better candidate.  Another loss.

And then the year had to throw in one more zinger.  The PIA Airplane crash.  A crash in which we not only lost the lives of 47 innocent people - men, women and young children.....we also lost yet another shining star for Pakistan.  Junaid Jamshed.  Someone who has defined my childhood, my teenage years, my relationship with my husband, my "cleaning days," my moody moments, my happy moments.  The Vital Signs were a group that I listened to all the time from the age of 7 all the way until....forever.  Their albums have a permanent place on my iPod, my iPhone, their music follows me in every aspect of my life.  Junaid's clothes were my "go to" when landing in Pakistan and needing a few quick ready-made pieces to tide me over before the darzi got his act together.  Junaid's Naats carried me through Ramadan, soothing the soul with his voice and faith.  Junaid Jamshed was more than just an artist or a singer - he was an incredibly sincere, well-rounded Pakistani figure who lived his life with kindness, charity and sincerity (Amjad Sabri and ESPECIALLY Edhi were no less, I have simply made peace with their deaths long ago.  This is still fresh).  His death cut deep.

And then Aleppo.....a Holocaust that no one can step in and do anything about.  That's painful to watch and it's painful to sit helpless.  The world is crumbling around us and filling up with hatred.  What can we do?

My interest in television, dramas, music and movies has temporarily been diverted.  I have admittedly NOT been keeping up with many shows.  The shows that I have kept up with have not been holding my interest.  This is not an excuse, but an attempt to explain why my writing has become even more limited than usual.  It's hard to write when your heart is just not in it.

I DO want to talk very quickly and briefly about Khuda Aur Mohabbat 2.  I binge caught-up on the 4 episodes I was behind on just last night.  I'm appalled.  Why am I watching the exact same show all over again?  This is actually the EXACT same show as the first Khuda Aur Mohabbat.  The same annoying characters, the same unbelievable situations, the same damn railway!  What IS this?  What is the POINT of this?  Is this Imran Abbas' attempt at a "redo" so he can do the exact same show again, but as a better actor?  I honestly don't get it.  I'm annoyed by this.  It's a waste of time.

OK, that's all I had to say regarding TV shows.  I tried watching Waada, but then in the first scene, I realized Shaista Lodhi is playing Faisal's wife.  My interest died right after the first episode.  I won't be watching this one.  I have nothing against Shaista, I simply don't like her.

Alright, that's all for today.  I also wanted to say that I will be leaving next week for Pakistan, where I will be spending 3 weeks.  I hope to be able to blog a little, but it may or may not be possible.  Bear with me!  Let's pray 2017 brings new hope and light with it. Until then, happy watching!  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dramas I'm Currently Watching: November 2016 Editioin

OK, this was a long time coming and I still had to leave it incomplete - I am not reviewing Seeta Bagri, Waada or Dukh Sukh.  I haven't had a chance to catch up on those shows yet - though they look great!

Before even reviewing anything, I want to CALL OUT HUM TV.  

I am all for casting talented actors wherever and whenever necessary.  But it's becoming completely unpalatable now to see Sharmeen Ali cast in every and any role humanly possible.  We need an extra?  Sharmeen Ali.  We need an ex girlfriend?  Sharmeen Ali.  We need a wife who will die in 3 episodes?  Sharmeen Ali.  We need a politician?  Sharmeen Ali.  SHE. IS. EVERYWHERE.  And I am quickly seeing the same trend with Mirza Zain Baig,  He is EVERYWHERE.  Mind you, Zain is actually talented, so I don't find it as grating (though still a little irritating).  But Sharmeen is actually a decent actress at best and I'm sure there are better options out there, rather than inserting her in every part possible.  It makes me wonder if she's some head at Hum TV's daughter and she's acting for them free of cost.  Haha.

Bin Roye



Reigning at the #1 spot, Bin Roye is my present favorite.  I love the characters, I love the story (though it's been done before) and I love the visuals/treatment.  What I love most is that there isn't a "negative" character (at least not yet).  The negativity comes, rather, from the emotions. misunderstandings and wrong assumptions.  High on emotions, we see Saba (Mahira Khan) act out towards Saman (Armeena Khan) and Irtiza (Hamayun Saeed), despite the fact that she loves both in different ways.  Saba struggles with herself and her years of love and adoration for Irtiza, seeing that his heart belongs to Saman.  It's interesting to watch this storyline only because these characters are written as nice people.  Had there been any vamp-like behavior, this show could've gone to the dogs.  Instead, you sympathize with everyone involved.  It's only hit episode 6, but I can't wait to see how the show continues (though I already know the story thanks to my friends who have seen the movie).  With Saman & Irtiza now married and Saba's rishta coming in, I'm hooked.


Sang E Mar Mar




Fascinating.  I'm a Pukhtun and while I really don't know any women that behave as meek as the women do on this show (Pukhtun women are NOT like this in their own homes) and I don't appreciate this weird stereotype that's being depicted, I am still thoroughly enjoying the show.

The story basically sits on the premise of love and a misunderstanding that ensues regarding hidden love.  Following Gullistan Khan (Nauman Ejaz) and his family, consisting of three sons, a daughter in law and his wife (Sania Saeed), the story essentially follows the plot of Gullistan's son Gohar (Agha Mustafa Hassan) who "traps" a girl Durkhani into his "Web of love."  Durkhani realizes too late, despite her friend Shireen's insisting, that Gohar does not have good intentions.  Unfortunately, Shireen's brother misunderstands the situation and believes that Shireen is the one having an affair with Gohar.  The following chaos results in her brother killing Gohar.  This is the plot that has been esential in moving the story along and at present, we see Shireen getting married to Gullistan's son - but which son?  The one she's in love with (Mekaal) or the one who is already married?  The star of this show is Nauman Ejaz, who commands the attention of the viewer every time he appears on screen.  The storyline is gripping and it's funny to see that Mekaal is actually the weakest player in this great ensemble cast.  That speaks highly of how talented this cast is, with each actor playing his or her part well and with each character having an important role to play.  The only role that legitimately gets on my nerves is that of the "khabri" of Mekaal's brother in law.  I know that actor is a key character artist in many dramas, but I've never been able to grasp his name - regardless, he's playing this role so terribly and irritatingly.  Everyone else is outstanding.

If you aren't watching this show, you're missing out.

Laaj



This show is a strange mixture of Ullu Baraaye Farokht Nahin and the Bollywood movie "Viraasat."  That being said, it's actually very good and keeps the viewer on their toes.  Shows of this nature so often fail to keep the viewer hooked, but this one succeeds due to the brilliant, off-beat casting.  The show is full of familiar, often seen faces, but faces that we're not used to seeing as lead roles.  And that's what's making the show work.  The casting is fresh, the story is a little dated, but still unlike anything that's on TV at the moment.  The set and the camera work is actually beautiful.  It's a treat for the eyes.  I'd recommend this one.

Sanam



Silly.  That's my basic thought towards this show.  I have SO MUCH to say about this awful show.  Osmaan's character is so meek, so naive and so ridiculous that you can't help DISLIKE him.  Sharmeen Ali as Sarah is grating and self-entitled.  Why would you expect that the boyfriend you so ruthlessly ditched would still be interested in you?  Hareems' character of Ayla is practically nonexistant now, as is Emmad Irfani's.  These characters are so hit and run, touch and go and WEAK.  This is my problem with this show.  Maya Ali's character is well aware that SHE is a huge cause of Osmaan & Hareem's marriage messing up and causing misunderstandings between them, yet she CONTINUES to hang out with Osmaan and is his "family."  Given, Hareem's character is insane and Osmaan doesn't deserve to be married to that, but.....get divorced first.  Her intentions may not be bad, but her behavior is not......dignified.  Keep your distance!  Osmaan's Haarib acts as if Aan and her mother are ACTUALLY his family - they're not.

Which brings me to another thing that's making me bristle.  Regardless of Sarah's problems and Haarib's desire to help her, he does not have any right to inflict Aan on Sarah.  It is Sarah's perogative if she wants Aan around HER daughter or not.  And clearly here, the answer is NOT.  She does not like Aan - if she wants to be rude to Aan, that's her right.  Maybe Haarib should stop bringing her to her house.  Maybe Haarib should respect her wishes and not play "house" with Sarah's daughter and Aan.  Maybe Haarib should just respect that Sarah does not want Aan around....period.  Sorry, but the writer is losing here.  You can't force a person to share their child with a stranger.

This show is actually a train-wreck and not very interesting either.  With the introduction of Sarah's character, her ex-husband's introduction into the picture and their daughter, it has become a serious case of "too many cooks spoil the broth."  There are too many players in this game and I have lost the basic plot.

This show is very disappointing and I wish I could say otherwise.

Tum Milay




Frustrating.  It's frustrating to see Affan Waheed relegated to such lame roles.

Mind you, I was enjoying this show.  I liked how supportive Affan's character Jibran was of Nimra.  But then, somewhere down the line, this show has turned into some sort of weird, warped revenge drama.  Jibran marrying Nimra for his Daadi to get revenge is the most messed up direction this could possibly have gone in.

Don't even get me started on the storyline with Hooriya, her mother and Daadi.  There's something very wrong with a family that behaves like this.  Is it Nimra's fault that Hooriya got engaged to NIMRA'S significant other?  Who is this "zyaati" with?  Nimra or Hooriya?  Sense would say Nimra, but this crazy family says Hooriya.  It's ridiculous.  Instead of appreciating that Nimra took a step back to respect her new family, she's accused of having an affair with Hooriya's husband at every turn.

OK, yes, so the bottom line is that this show is annoying.  Please don't bother.


Aap Ke Liye




I love this show.  I love Faisal Qureshi & Areej Fatima's chemistry, which alone makes the show worth watching.  When the show was initially announced, I mentally checked out, thinking "Seriously?  Faisal with another actress young enough to be his daughter?"  HOWEVER, my complaints were almost immediately cleared away, with Washma (Areej) calling Shaheer (Faisal) a "buddha" in the initial couple of episodes.  The story is as such that Shaheer (and his younger sister)  is controlled and manipulated by his sister (Samina Peerzada) and brother in law (Waseem Abbas).  Washma, his secretary, ends up married to Shaheer under unusual (yet very cute) circumstances and is brought into a world where she is not accepted by anyone but her husband.

While one would think this sounds like an Indian drama, it is NOT.  The way the character of Washma handles herself, her problems and her husband make her a very intelligent character and it's refreshing to see a character like this on television, especially in this day and age where actresses are restricted to playing boo-hoo roles.  Washma's relationship with her brother & bhabi also make for really sweet scenes.  Seeing the head-butting between Areej & Samina's characters is downright hilarious and while Samina's character is seriously OTT, it's still a lot of fun to watch.  Faisal plays his role nicely and while it doesn't really require too much acting power, he's believable as Shaheer and his relationship with Washma is beautifully natural.

I recommend this one.  It hasn't ended yet, so there's always room for goof ups, but as of now, I love it.

Saaya E Deewar



I just......what......huh.....where.......how.......WHERE IS THIS SHOW HEADED?

This is how I feel every time I watch an episode of this HORRIBLE show.  What started off as such a beautiful story of love torn apart by tradition has now mutated into this hot mess about.......I don't know?

We have Ahsan Khan living with his daughter, both involved in social work.  We have Naveen's "Mrs Peter" working hard to support her son.....her son who is now looking to join the Church.  I want to pause here - why is the Priest being shown as "bad" and as distracting him from his studies?  In a country that needs to boost minorities, I actually find this depiction of a Priest downright insulting and offensive!  We also have Naveen's kids (that she abandoned), living with Emmad's character......who has now SHOT HIS DAUGHTER and is letting his son abuse his new wife.  This show has gone completley amuck and I have no idea why I'm still watching.....but I am.

Can we also say that this scene between Naveen & Ahsan should've been exciting, but it was NOT?  It was so "pheeka" and boring, I can't even wrap my head around it.  This show has lost steam completely.

Ghayal




I'm on the fence regarding this show, mostly because Goher Mumtaz was the only thing keeping the show interesting and with his exit from the show, it's taken a turn for the boring.  First off, the story of a to-be bride kidnapped by an obsessed lover should've been better executed, because let's be real - that's a great storyline.  But unfortunately, the plot points were so half-baked that the show became more irritating to watch than anything else.

The biggest, glaring issue I have is with the ENTIRE EXISTENCE of "Phupo's family."  Phupo and her two sons are the most nikkamay, jerk-faced people I've seen on a show in a while.  There's no comprehension of how bad their behavior is, painting themselves as the picture of purity and innocence (um, no).  Why Abid Ali doesn't just tell them where to stick it is incomprehensible - they treat his daughter like dirt anyway.

Second, I am so over "majboor" parents.  Sumbal's mother hears what Goher Mumtaz has "done" to her daughter (We'll get back to this) and how he shot her cousin........and goes into a COMA?!  Enough of this nonsense!  When are Pakistani parents on dramas going to act the way norma parents would act?  WITH RAGE!  It's infuriating.

Third, Goher Mumtaz was literally the highlight of the show.  I have hated Goher as an actor in all of his previous dramas, but his acting here WORKED.  He did an incredible job.....but with the writing out of his character (for obvious reasons), the show has gone into a slump.  I can understand that they wanted to focus on the "rehabilitation" of Sumbal's character, but I think Goher's character was written out simply too soon.

And last, here's my greatest complaint about the show:  it was VAGUE.  What is Sumbal recovering from, exactly?  A kidnapping?  PTSD from watching her cousin get shot?  Or was she raped?  Was she raped?  I don't know.  That's how everyone is behaving, but we never received acknowledgement of that.  I'm not asking for obscene scenes, but I think there are ways to show what has happened without being vulgar, ways that would make things a little more clear for the viewers.

The show hasn't finished yet, so I can't vouch for how I feel about the show overall, but as of right now, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it (though it had so much potential).


Dil Banjara


The story revolves around Adnan Malik's character, a "banjara" type who wants to wander the world as a free spirit, not wanting to be tied down.  Howver, Mira Sethi's character is in love with him and wants to marry him.  After an accident which Adnan witnesses, Adnan agrees to marry Mira.  On the other end, Sanam Saeed's character lives in a joint family and is forcibly engaged to a boy of her Taaya's choice.  Her father, as a consolation prize, agrees to sending Sanam off on a trip with her school.

OK, so here's the thing:  This show got off to a pitifully over the top, annoying, nails on a blackboard sort of grating start.  The first four episodes made me want to change over to another show every time I sat down to watch.  Sanam and Adnan were the reason I just HAD to watch this show - but the initial episodes made me so uncomfortable, because the writing and acting was so BAD.

I'm happy to say that after episode 5, I've changed my tune.  While I'm not 100% excited about this show, I do like the chemistry between Adnan & Sanam.  I enjoyed their scenes together and I am enjoying this "on a trip, away from the problems of the world" story.  I'm reminded very much of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge, which is nice and gives it some potential.  That being said, I don't really like Adnan's character's behavior towards Mira Sethi's character.  This "pity shaadi" business is actually making me uncomfortable and WHY any mother would want that for her daughter is completely beyond my understanding.

But despite that, I am glad this show has taken a turn for the better!


Khuda Aur Mohabbat 2




Deja vu, deja vu, deja vu.

After the initial 2 episodes, I was very excited about this "part two."  I love seeing Firdous Jamal as the "new" Maulana Sahab.  I love the softer nature of the show, showing an intention of making Islam more lovable and relatable, which would definitely draw viewers to it.  I love seeing the improvement in Imran Abbas' acting skills (which he has improved by miles since "Part 1.").  I'm loving the nicer characters, characters that are more willing to bend and don't come off as "rigid maulana's family vs. rich snooty rude family."  The society is just being depicted as "different." not right or wrong.

But here's where the show is losing me again.....and it's exactly what lost me in the first season.  Why does Imran Abbas's character fall in love by just seeing Sadia Khan's eyes?  Why?  Especially a character that hates the idea of love and scoffs at the very idea of ever falling in love.....her eyes?  Really?  The eyes of a girl in a burqa, making her the last girl he'd look at?  I don't think so.  It's almost laughable.  And now we see him obsessing over Maulana Sahab's daughter after seeing her eyes....it makes absolutely zero sense.

That's my greatest complaint.  It sounds silly, but that's exactly what made season 1 unpalatable for me and I sense this show heading down the same track.  I think it loses meaning COMPLETELY when the label of "love" gets stuck on a feeling of attraction....or to be blunt, LUST.  Khuda Aur Mohabbat.....it should have more meaning than that.  There should be a conversation.  There should be something MORE.

OK, that's all!  Haha.  I am enjoying the show. so don't take my criticism as "I don't like it."  I just wish it were different.

Sila




I can't explain why, but I'm really enjoying this one.  Yes, it's too early to tell, as the show is only on episode 3.  That being said, the chemistry between Annie and Farhan is downright adorable.  Seeing them on screen is a treat (It's also nice to see Farhan act opposite someone who is not Urwa).

The story is your typical "Boy and girl meet in school.  Girl comes from a poor family, guy comes from a rich family, rich guy's family doesn't agree, poor girl's family is furious that girl was carrying on a chakkar in the name of education" nonsense.  However, it's the treatment of the show that makes it nice to watch.  You actually want to see these characters and how they fight for each other.  Again, Annie and Farhan are also very likable in their roles and share good chemistry, which adds to the watchability.

Like I said, it's very early on, so I don't know where the story is headed as of now.  At this moment in time, it's a sweet, cute show.

Kuch Na Kaho




I'm on the fence about this show.  I like the overall "feel" of it, very breezily shot with some cute characters.  But I don't understand where it's headed.  Clearly, "Mohsin Bhai" (Emmad) will cease to be "Bhai"....and how is really disturbing me.  On the other end, Aani (Naveen) and Imran's relationship is not really believable.  I don't BELIEVE in their relationship - it doesn't seem strong enough for a girl to secretly get nikkaed.  Imran as a character is such a fickle, silly, unmanly type who clearly can't just leave his parents home and stand up for Aani.  Instead, he's still going around with his horrible fiancee (the equivalent of any Indian drama vamp, she's so irritatingly written) and is so clueless about her ploys, despite them being right in front of him.

I'm also bothered by how irritating Aani's family is.  I understand conservativism, but this is......exactly what Pakistani society needs to do away with.  A girl wants to marry a guy....so what?

Anyways.  I'm enjoying this somewhat because of Emmad's performance, along with Mirza Zain Baig and Shazia Naz (because they're cute).  Otherwise, I am confused as to where it's heading.

I have not had a chance to catch up on Seeta Bagri (though I'm very excited about this), Waada and Dukh Sukh yet, but I didn't want to prolong this post any longer!  I will write about those shows next!

I've discarded Naimat and Be Aib, due to their over the top and annoying nature regarding the storyline.  They didn't offer anything new.

Until next time, happy watching!